A HOUSE was struck by lightning in north Cumbria as Storm Gareth raged across the country.

It hit a chimney in Cotehill, near Carlisle, and caused damaged to two homes.

Crews from Carlisle East and Carlisle West fire stations were called out at about 2.30am.

A spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: "It was a joint chimney between two houses which was struck. It smashed the chimney to pieces and put some bits through the roof.

"It travelled down the cables and blew some sockets and telephone points in both properties and blew one of the properties gas fires out onto the hearth. The gentleman was sleeping on the sofa at the time."

He added that part of the chimney had come through the ceiling in a child's bedroom but thankfully no one was injured in either home.

Amanda Glencross's house was devastated after being struck. 

The 43-year-old, who was in the house with her husband Phil, 41, and their nine-year-old twins, said: "I went to the window watching to see when the next strike of lightning was coming. I have never seen lightning like it. 

"I have seen fork lightning, lightning that lights up the sky but it was literally like someone had flashed a camera flash in my eyes it was so bright."

Firefighters, who were in attendance for about an hour, made the scene safe, ensuring the electric and gas was knocked off, and cordoned off the properties.

Residents in Carlisle also felt the brunt of the storm. 

Video credit: LeeRy30

Ryan Hetherington, 20, of Currock, Carlisle, captured the some of the action.

He said: "It was extremely exciting as it’s become quite a rare occurrence and the fork lightning appeared to be so close, causing the house to shake with the immediate thunder. The excitement was real but my mum did not feel the same."

A weather warning for wind remains in place today and river levels across the county remain high following heavy downpours overnight.

The Met Office said west to northwesterly winds are expected throughout the day with possible transport disruption.